Sure, it may seem odd. A lot of schools will be out this week in continuing their holiday break, which undoubtedly will cut into the crowds.
However, there will be plenty of Class 5A boys basketball immediately after New Year’s Day, including the dawning of league play, beginning on Tuesday as the race to resume action and structure standings is on.
With only a few permitted practices over the past several days bracketed by holidays, expect the play to be ragged, fouls to be mounting, players to be out of breath and coaches to be bellowing.
This is Colorado and this is what we do … and go through in each winter season to begin January.
Below are the matchups you may want to view this week as Season No. 2 picks itself up after its annual interruption amid some different tip-offs, so check your times:
Beginning on Tuesday and in keeping with the theme of unusual circumstances, Grandview (7-1) will be at Mullen (4-2), 6 p.m., but, no, it won’t be in the Centennial League. In fact, it will be the first of their three matchups as only the latter two will count in the Centennial. Both teams needed a game to fill their 23-game slots. Dayne Prim’s 12.4 points per game tops the Wolves and Mullen already has won half as many games as it did a season ago.
A suddenly warm Douglas County, headed by coach and former Nugget Earl Boykins, is off to a 5-2 start. The Huskies will meet Jefferson County’s Columbine (3-4). And in Colorado Springs, a couple of slow-starters, Sand Creek (2-6) and Palmer (4-5), in nonleague.
On Wednesday, Rock Canyon (9-0) and super guard Sam Masten account for the only undefeated program remaining in 5A. The Jaguars will welcome another hot team, Mountain Range (7-2), in nonleague. Two other 8-1 teams also will see nonleague action, both on the road — Regis Jesuit (junior Jamil Safieddine, 13.3 points) will head up Arapahoe Road to face Cherokee Trail (6-2) in an all-Aurora gathering and Castle View, riding junior Chase Hettinger’s 23 points per outing, will be at struggling Denver South (3-6).
Additional must-see Aurora and Centennial play will be on Thursday, when Grandview will host Smoky Hill (7-2). The Buffaloes are being led by John Harge (15.6 points) and Quinten Rock (13.8). Also look for Highlands Ranch (6-2) at Northfield in nonleague as well as the first of three games for Fort Collins (2-5) in Cheyenne, Wyo. The Lambkins will take on Evanston before matchups against Riverton (Friday) and Green River (Saturday).
Friday’s usually heavy schedule won’t kick in for a couple of weeks, although the weight at the top will be there. Chaparral’s 8-2 beginning, ignited by junior Ronnie DeGray’s 20 points per game, will be tested by ever-present Denver East (9-1), which has yet to lose an in-state game and is bolstered by the University of Colorado-bound Daylen Kountz (21.9 points) and junior Kwane Marble (16.5). Suburbs vs. city. It’s terrific. Additionally, Denver power George Washington (7-4) and sophomore Devon Carter (10.1) will be at ThunderRidge (10-1) and Kaison Hammonds (16.4 points), so the Grizzlies’ relatively tiny gymnasium should be packed … again. And a Front Range opener of Mountain Range (7-3) at Broomfield (6-3) surely will be worth your time.
Wrapping it up on Saturday, several Jeffco matinees at 1 p.m. will dot the left-side county, notably Dakota Ridge (5-3) at Arvada West (5-4), and Mullen will have its Centennial debut at defending state champion Eaglecrest (5-3).